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This recipe celebrates one of the first — and sweetest — harbingers of spring: strawberries. I’ve gussied them up quite a bit with some borrowings from an old-fashioned dessert called Baked Alaska.

Strawberries Baked Alaska

1/2 cup vanilla ice cream

10 medium to large strawberries

1 large egg white at room temperature

Pinch of cream of tartar

3 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar, divided

1 1/2 teaspoons Grand Marnier or balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup crushed gingersnaps or cookies of your choice

Mint sprigs for garnish

Scoop out 12 ice cream balls onto plate using melon baller; cover with plastic wrap and freeze. Remove strawberry leaves; cut four berries into 1/4-inch pieces; toss with 1/2 teaspoon sugar and Grand Marnier. Halve remaining berries lengthwise. Use melon baller to scoop out a hollow on cut side of each strawberry half (to hold ice cream ball). Cut tiny sliver off other side of strawberry half so it sits flat.

In small bowl beat egg white on medium with electric beaters. When foamy, add cream of tartar. Continue beating egg white until it holds soft peaks. Slowly add remaining 3 tablespoons sugar in a stream, beating constantly. Increase speed to high; continue beating until meringue holds stiff peaks.

Preheat broiler. Position oven rack about 6 inches from flame. Arrange strawberries on rimmed sheet pan with 2 or 3 inches between them. Fill hollow of each strawberry half with ice cream ball. Working quickly, spoon meringue over ice cream and top half of cut berry; spread with small offset spatula, making little peaks if desired. Place sheet pan on rack under broiler and broil 45 seconds to 1 minute or until meringue is lightly browned. Transfer 3 strawberries to each of 4 plates. Spoon mound of marinated strawberries n plate; sprinkle with cookie crumbs and garnish with mint. Serve immediately.


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